Day 1: Arrive at the city of Invercargill, New Zealand’s southernmost city. Established by Scottish settlers with its wealth in the rich farmland, sheep and diary farms predominate. On arrival please make your own arrangements to transfer the short distance to the city and specifically to the Kelvin Hotel in the central city. A detailed programme will be available to you when you check in at reception. Dinner is at the hotel which is an opportunity to meet fellow expeditioners.
Day 2: Breakfast is at your leisure in the dining room at the hotel. Your programme will advise a time for bags out and then we will be transferred to the Southland Museum to view the special Subantarctic display before being transferred by coach to the Port of Bluff (27 km to the south of Invercargill) to board the Spirit of Enderby. Depart for the Snares Islands.
Day 3: The Snares is the first of the Subantarctic Islands that we will be visiting. It is one amazing island - more seabirds nest on this small island than there are seabirds around the entire British Isles. We will make landfall early morning, landings are not permitted, so we will zodiac cruise the sheltered eastern side. Snares crested penguins are plentiful around the coast as are the cape petrel. Bullers albatross nest here later in the season. Cruising in the sheltered bays we will see, the endemic tomtit, and fernbird. Antarctic terns, white-fronted terns and red-billed gulls are around the coastline. There is an estimated 60 million of these nesting on Snares Island. Mottled petrel, diving petrel and broad billed prion are all in the vicinity.
Day 4: Arrive at Enderby Island, a great island to bird, in the Auckland Island group. We make a landing at Sandy Bay, the main breeding ground for the Hookers Sealion with observations of the following species, Southern Royal Albatross, Northern giant petrel, Auckland Island shag, Auckland Island teal, Auckland Island banded dotterel, Auckland Island tomtit, bellbird, pipit, red crowned parakeet, yellow eyed penguin, light mantled sooty albatross. We will spend some time searching for the Subantarctic snipe. Other more common species we will see include goldfinch, song thrush, blackbird, European starling, red-bill gull, redpoll. On Derrycastle Reef there is a good chance to see bar-tailed godwit, turnstone and perhaps other migratory waders.
Day 5: This morning we will cruise to Carnley Harbour in the south of the main Auckland Islands, there will be an opportunity for the energetic participants to climb to the Southwest Cape shy mollymawk colony. Wandering albatross nest above the colony amongst the tussock, we should get good views of these birds as they will be nesting at this time. Those remaining on board will visit one of a number of historic sites in the area and perhaps see a NZ falcon that frequent the area. We depart the Auckland Islands.
Day 6: At sea en-route to Macquarie Island. It is a day for observing the pelagic species. Wandering albatross, royal albatross, black-browed albatross, light-mantled sooty albatross, Salvins albatross, grey headed albatross, northern and southern giant petrel, sooty shearwater, little shearwater. We will endeavour to sort out the fairy prion, fulmar prion and Antarctic prion which are not always easy but we should get some great views. Other species to be on the look out for include soft-plumaged petrel, mottled petrel, white-headed petrel, grey-faced petrel, white chinned petrel, grey backed storm petrel, Wilsons storm petrel, black-bellied storm petrel and common diving petrel.
Days 7 & 8: Macquarie Island. This remote outpost belongs to Australia, it is a narrow sliver of land that supports one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Hemisphere. Situated on the northern end of the island is the base occupied by Australian scientists, we hope to visit them and discuss their research. We will concentrate on the best wildlife areas - the teeming royal penguin rookery and the expanding king penguin colony at Sandy Bay, the massed king penguins at Lusitania Bay, the rockhopper penguins scattered around the isthmus and the thousands of elephant seals along the beaches.
Days 9 - 12: We depart south to East Antarctica. As we make our way across the vast southern ocean ther will be many opportunities for pelagic species watching. We will be logging the location of the various albatross, petrel, and prions that we see and a keen lookout will be kept for marine mammals. Lecturers will prepare us for our time in the Antarctic with informal lectures and discussions.
Days 13 - 18: We approach the remote East Antarctic coastline to the first stop is Cape Denison Commonwealth Bay, “Home of the Blizzard”. The Cape is the site of the historic hut last used by Sir Douglas Mawson, Australia’s most famous Antarctic Explorer, who led the tragic, yet heroic 1911 - 1914 expedition. Mawson’s hut still stands, although ravaged by the weather extremes of this area. We will also attempt to land and visit Adelie Penguins which nest here. The East Antarctic Coastline is one of the first areas of the Antarctic Continent to become "Ice Free" each year.
Wildlife is abundant with Snow Petrels and Wilson’s Storm Petrels nesting on the continent and many offshore islands. Further west we will find Emperor Penguins nesting at Dumont d’Urville. We will make a special effort to land at these sites to enable you to see and photograph the birds. Off the coast of East Antarctica we will witness the unending fascination of icebergs and sea ice as we sail to the wandering South Magnetic Pole currently estimated to be100 miles of the coast.
Days 19 - 22: Departing from the spectacular ice carved nature of Antarctica we cruise northwards towards Campbell Island with some quieter time at sea to recover from the extensive daylight hours of Antarctic. Our lecturers will discuss various aspects of the Southern Ocean with us as we share in the friendly camaraderie of the Spirit of Enderby. A look out will be kept for whales and seabirds of the region.
Days 23 & 24: Campbell Island. We anchor in Perseverance Harbour, site of the former New Zealand Meterological Station. After a visit to the station we will walk to Col-Lyall saddle and observe the Southern Royal Albatross which gather there to nest. On this stunning island we will also see megaherbs and witness other wildlife such as Campbell Island shags, Light mantled sooty albatross and sealions.
Day 25: As we depart Campbell Island for Bluff it is a time to reflect on and discuss all the many and varied sights we have observed throughout our voyage, ask all those last minute questions of the lecturers.
Day 26: We arrive to the Port of Bluff. After breakfast and customs formalities have been completed we will disembark. Landings at the Sub Antarctic Islands are by permit only as administered by the governments of New Zealand and Australia. No landings are permitted at Snares Is. Circumstances may be encountered during our voyage which will make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. These circumstances include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed during the voyage.
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